Career Development June 15, 2022

By Jennifer Larson, contributor

Expert Tips for Writing Your Nursing Resume

Imagine that a recruiter or a human resources officer contacts you about a terrific nursing job. And they say, “Send over your resume as soon as possible.” Do you have one ready to go?

This industry moves fast, and you need to be ready, according to Cameron B., a nurse recruiter with American Mobile. If you don’t already have a current resume, it’s time to create one. A general rule of thumb when writing a nursing resume: be specific but concise.

Here’s how to get started.

How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)

If you’re applying for a travel nursing job, you might not need to worry about optimizing your resume for applicant tracking software. This type of human resources software can scan a high volume of resumes for certain key words or relevant buzzwords, allowing a recruiter to search for candidates by job title or special skills. Cameron noted that American Mobile does not use this kind of software.

INTERESTED in launching your own travel nurse adventure? Connect with an American Mobile recruiter to explore opportunities throughout the U.S.

However, if you’re applying directly to a hospital or healthcare system for a staff nursing position, this strategy could be useful, since facilities may use such software to scan resumes and look for candidates whose resumes reflect that they may be a good fit.

Focus on using specific terms, including action words that really reflect your experience and skills, Cameron suggested. If you’re applying for a specific job, look for key words or phrases that are used early or often in the job description, and be sure to include those in your resume where applicable.

Nursing Resume Format

You don’t have to use any one particular format for your resume, according to Cameron, as long as you make sure that you include all the important information in very clear and very clearly delineated ways.

But usually, the best way to start is to put your name and contact information at the top. Use a professional email address that makes you sound like the professional you are.

Then, you can create separate sections for the key pieces of information with a heading for each.

What to Include in Your Nursing Resume

Here are the other elements that you’ll want to include in your nursing resume. If you can incorporate numbers or stats to catch a hiring manager’s eye, so much the better.

Objective

Why do you want someone to hire you? “Make it clear why they have your resume in their hands,” said Cameron. “Two sentences, tops, with very clear action as to what you expect to happen because this person has your resume in their hands.”

Put the objective at the top of your resume, under your contact information. Cameron also recommends sticking with the third person when writing your objective.

Nursing skills and duties

Here’s your opportunity to show potential employers what you can do.  “A resume needs to be a brag about why you’re the best and why they should choose you,” said Cameron. A few examples of skills or duties that you could include:

  • Special skills with specialized equipment, like ventilators, ECG monitors or telemetry equipment
  • Experience as a charge nurse
  • Experience with various electronic medical records systems
  • Other specialized training that you may have

And if you’re applying for a travel nursing job, be sure to mention that you have experience floating to other units, since it can make you very marketable to employers, noted Cameron.

Nursing experience

Here’s the section where you list all the places where you’ve worked. Cameron advises making sure that you list the full name of the facility, the location, and the approximate dates when you worked there (month and year of your start date and end date should be fine). List the type of job or role that you had at each facility. And you could consider adding information about the type of work that you did in each role. Job duties should be bulleted and should clearly show your impact in that role using impact verbs (ie. led, managed, responsible for).

Organizing Your Credentials Field

Hiring managers will definitely want to know about all of your credentials, since some are required for employment–and others will make you stand out as a job candidate. List each certification that you have acquired, along with the expiration date. This makes it easier for a recruiter to know where you stand, too.

Additional Sections

“You don’t have to add any additional sections to your resume if you feel you’ve thoroughly represented your nursing experience and skills. But if you do have some volunteer experience that’s relevant to your nursing career, you could include an additional ‘volunteer’ section to explain that,” Cameron said. This could include serving on the board of a healthcare nonprofit, specific volunteer experience that utilized your nursing skills, or perhaps healthcare mission trips.

But resist the urge to add in unnecessary information that’s not relevant to your nursing goals. In other words, omit the details about your recreational soccer team or your passion for line dancing. “None of that tells me what you can do as a nurse,” said Cameron.

INTERESTED in launching your own travel nurse adventure? Connect with an American Mobile recruiter to explore opportunities throughout the U.S.

We can answer your questions; find travel nursing jobs that fit your nursing skills, experience, and goals; and support you every step of the way.

Contact us! We're here to help.

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